Linked Post: "Burying a Program"
At ym360, everything we do falls into one of four categories: Bible Study Resources, Training, Community, or Networking. For us, networking means highlighting great content, great people, and great ministries. It's simply our little way of making sure we're all connected. When we find something valuable, we share it. This happens most frequently on our Flashback Friday posts. But it happens in other ways, as well.
One of the ways we focus on Networking is by linking to solid content we encounter on blogs or websites.
We ran across this post on Eric Geiger's excellent blog. Geiger is the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at Lifeway. He's a teaching pastor, a consultant, and the author of several books, including Simple Student Ministry (one of the three or four "go-to" books we recommend for youth ministers looking for guidance in their youth ministry philosophy).
We often talk here on the ym360 Blog about evaluating your ministry, particularly as it pertains to your ministry programming. "Programming" is an easy target in Church culture. The funny thing is that programs are neither evil nor virtuous. They're just programs. :) It's our philosophy behind them that can be problematic. We often ask, "Are your programs serving you? Or are you serving your programs?" Evaluating your programming with an eye toward effectiveness is crucial to any ministry.
But what do you do when it comes time to shut a program down?
Geiger's blog post provides an awesome framework for answering this very question. I would strongly encourage you to read it if you are even thinking about evaluating your ministry programming . . . which you should definitely be doing :)
We've posted a snippet below. Be sure to head over to Geiger's blog to read the rest. And share your thoughts in the comment section while you're there.
Burying A Program, by Eric Geiger
Since writing Simple Church with my boss Thom Rainer, a common question has been, “How can we eliminate a program or an event?” Those who ask the question often know that a program on their church calendar accomplishes very little for the Kingdom and is not aligned to the mission of their church. But they wrestle with the impact that canceling a program or event will have on the people they serve.
The reality is that canceling a program or event is very difficult, often painful. Several years ago when Google began to skyrocket and Yahoo plummeted, people wondered why Yahoo did not merely simplify their homepage. Why did they not learn from the simplicity of Google and streamline? A Google executive responded that it would be impossible for Yahoo to do so because behind every link was a “shareholder or a stakeholder.” Someone paid for those links or some team invested years in the ideas represented by each link. The same is true in a church program. Behind every program is a shareholder or stakeholder - someone who invested and people who love the program or event.
While burying a program is difficult, it is often necessary. Without a proper burial, the church will continue to rob energy, resources, and attention from more important programs to merely keep the unnecessary ones afloat. German philosopher, Goethe, wisely stated, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:15-16a, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time.” Paul could have used the word “chronos” for time - the word we get “chronological” from, a word that speaks of time in general terms. But Paul used the word “kairos” which speaks of time in terms of the short amount of predetermined time that we have to steward while living. In other words, you only have so much time - so live wisely. Don't waste time and resources funding, promoting, pushing, or resourcing something that steals energy from the best.
As you move toward burying a program, here are three lessons I have learned from both observation and experience.
Click here to read the rest of the article.